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Illegal cigarette trade has become even more lucrative than drug dealing

It’s a ‘win-win’ for criminals as the discovery of €1.5m in laundered money on a farm in Co Limerick indicates.

This shows that big criminals have moved into the more lucrative cigarette smuggling market; it’s less dangerous than drug dealing.

We are Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS), which represents almost 3,000 independent retailers in the fight against the black market. The incident, where a convicted drug dealer was found trying to vacuum pack and tumble dry cash that he had dug up, was further proof that such criminals are now involved in the illegal cigarette trade.

Cigarettes are easier to smuggle, there is huge money to be made from them and the fines are relatively small.

Even if they are convicted, it is also unlikely that they will serve time in jail. It’s a win-win for criminals.

The fact that this was the biggest seizure of cash used for criminal purposes in the history of the State shows that the illegal cigarette

trade is where the easy money is.

The individual at the centre of the case said he would not name those who the money belonged to as he feared for his life.

This demonstrates how the people involved in the illegal cigarette trade are vicious criminals who will stop at nothing and have no respect for human life.

In light of this discovery, we, RAS are calling on Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, who is also a Limerick TD, to provide more resources to the Revenue Commissioners to help tackle this growing problem.

Benny Gilsenan

Emmet Street

Dublin 1


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